1902 Encyclopedia > Germany > Germany - Education

(Part 16)



In point of intellectual culture Germany ranks high. Much is done by the Government for the promotion both of primary and of secondary education; there are no exact statistics, however, of the educational establishments, or of the expenditure incurred in connexion with them. In regard to the latter the sums which figure in the Government budgets are not the only contributions which must be considered; for in most of the states the several local communities provide from their own resources for primary instruction and for many of the higher schools, while many of the superior institutes have funds of their own not included in the budget. School instruction is obligatory on the whole people, but in many districts there is still a scarcity of teachers and some want of efficient control. The total number of primary schools is estimated at 60,000, and that of pupils at 6,500,000, or 150 pupils to every 1000 inhabitants. Some provinces exhibit a larger proportion; in Saxony, Thuringia, Brunswick, Rhineland, and Westphalia there are from 165 to 175 pupils to every 1000 inhabitants. In Bavaria, Posen, East and West Prussia, Brandenburg, on the other hand, there are only from 120 to 130. A good criterion of the school instruction is to be found in the statistics of the annual levies of recruits. The following table shows the number of recruits during the years 1876-78 who were unable to read and write:—


It will be seen from the above that the number of illiterate recruits has considerably decreased during the last three years. The figures given compare very favourably with those of other European countries. In 1872 the number of illiterates was 4·6 per cent. in the army, and 2·3 in the navy, the corresponding numbers in France being 23 and 14 per cent. In England 23 per cent. of the marines could neither read nor write in 1865, 4 per cent. could only read, and 37 per cent. could write but imperfectly. In Austria only 28 per cent. of the recruits could write, and in Russia scarcely 10 per cent. had any school education. But the provinces of Germany differ much from one another in this respect. Education is very inferior in the eastern Polish districts. During the three years from 1875-78 in the districts of Posen, Bromberg, and Oppeln there were in all 10·7, 9·24, 8·02 per cent. of illiterates among the recruits, in the provinces of West and east Prussia 8·77, 8·66, 7·80. After these the rate takes a long leap to 3·18, 3·17, 1·94 in Alsace-Lorraine and Palatinate. In 1877-78 there was no considerable district in Germany which sent so many as 1 per cent. of illiterates. The most satisfactory state of matters is to be found is Saxony, Thuringia, Baden, and Würtemberg, and especially in the last two. Würtemberg had only one recruit among 6000 that was unable to read.

The census in Prussia in 1871 proves primary school instruction to be much better among the Protestants than among the Catholics, as will be seen in the following table:—


Unremitting attention is being paid to the improvement of primary schools (volkschulen), although many of the eastern districts are still destitute of these in the rural localities. Not long ago the position of teachers of primacy schools was very unsatisfactory; and the supply of masters was unequal to the demand. In recent years much has been done in all the states to effort a reform on this state of matters. In 1875 there were 170 seminaries in Germany for the training of schoolmasters. But this number is insufficient, for it may be estimated that 5000 to 6000 new appointments are required annually, if one master is not to have charge of more than 60 children. Saxony has the greatest number of institutions of this kind (15). Within the last few years many municipalities have begun to found schools of a somewhat higher rank for the lower classes of the town population, called middle schools.

There are four different kinds of schools for the higher branches of education. The gymnasia supply preparatory training for the universities, the foremost place in the course of instruction being assigned to the classical languages ; but French, English, and mathematics are also taught, and some attention is given to natural science, history, and geography. Their constitution dates back to very remote times, and but few and slight alternations have been made in their schemes of study since the beginning of the present century. Officials, judges, clergymen, teachers, and physicians for the most part receive their early education at the gymnasia. In 1878 there were 360 gymnasia in Germany, or 1 for every 600 square miles and every 117,000 in habitants. Central Germany has the largest proportion, 1 for every 75,000 inhabitants. To these must be added the progymnasia, about 90 in number. The same studies are prosecuted in these, but the highest classes of a gymnasium are wanting. Of more recent growth is the system of realschulen, where Latin is the only ancient language taught, the other branches being modern language, especially French and English, mathematics and natural philosophy, geography, and modern history. These schools have long enjoyed great popularity. They are classified as of the first and of the second order. In the former a pupil remains generally for nine or ten years, as in the gymnasia; and those who pass the highest examination are allowed to enter the universities, but only to study the modern languages, mathematics, and natural sciences. In 1878 there were 129 realschulen of the first order, mainly in Saxony, Rhineland, Berlin, and Hanover. The realschulen of the second order prepare pupils for those professions which do not require a university course. On the average a pupil leaves school in the seventeenth year of his age. Besides these institutions, which are increasing every year, there is a considerable number of technical schools (gewerbeschulen). Their purpose is purely industrial; drawing, mechanics, mathematics, physics, and chemistry are among the subjects of instruction, languages being excluded. There are, moreover, schools of commerce, navigation, and agriculture in different towns. The military law relating to the one year’s volunteers has had an important influence on the attendance at all these institutions. In 1879 there were 878 schools with the privilege of furnishing pass certificates to such volunteers; of these 360 were gymnasia, 129 were realschulen, and about 40 were private schools. Exact and uniform statistics of the higher schools do not as yet exist. Many of the last-mentioned institutions are maintained partly or entirely at the expense of the municipalities, and by far the greater number are denominational, Protestant ones prevailing. The following table shows the number of Prussian schools in 1875 maintained severally by the Government, by the municipalities, and by other funds:—


Universities and Higher Technical Schools.—Germany owes its large number of universities, and its widely diffused higher education to its former subdivision into many separate states. Only a few of the universities date their existence from the present century; the majority of them are very much older. Each of the larger provinces, except Posen, has at least one university, the entire number at present being 21. All have four faculties except Münster, which has no faculties of law and medicine. As regards theology, Bohnn, Breslau, and Tübingen have both a Protestant and a Catholic faculty; Freiburg, Munich, Münster, and Würzburg are exclusively Catholic; and all the rest are Protestant. The following table gives the names of the 21universities, the dates of their respective foundations, the number of their professors and other teachers, and of the students attending their lectures during the summer session 1878, arranged according to the numbers in attendance:—1


A number of technical high schools rank along with the universities; they all took their rise in the course of the present century, and usually bear the name of Polytechnicum. To the number of these belong the academies of industry (founded 1821) and of architecture (1798) in Berlin, and the polytechnica at Hanover, Brunswick, Aixla-Chapelle, Darmstadt, Carlsruhe, Stuttgart, Munich, and Dresden.

Among the remaining higher technical schools may be mentioned the mining academies of Freiberg in Saxony, of Berlin, and of Clausthal in the Harz, and the academies of forestry at Neustadt-Eberswalde, Münden on the Weser, Tharand near Dresden, and Hohenheim near Stuttgart, and at Brunswick, Eisenach, Giessen, and Carlsrude. Schools of agriculture have also been attached to several universities , the most important being at Berlin, Halle, Göttingen, Königsberg, Jena, Poppelsdorf near Bonn, Munich, and Leipsic.

Libraries.—Mental culture and a general diffusion of knowledge are extensively promoted by means of numerous public libraries established in the capitals, the university towns, and other places. The most celebrated public libraries are those of Berlin (800,000 volumes), Munich (800,000 volumes and 22,000 manuscripts), Göttingen, Dresden, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Strasburg, Frankfort-on-the-Main, Breslau, Gotha, and Wolfenbüttel.

Societies.—There are also numerous societies and unions, some being of an exclusively scientific character, and others being designed for the popular diffusion of useful knowledge. The academies of science in Berlin, Munich, Göttingen, and Leipsic are Government institutions. Ampire provision is made for scientific collections of all kinds in almost all places of any importance, either at the public expense or through private munificence.

Observatories.—These have in recent years been considerably augmented. There are 22 observatories in the empire, viz., at Altona, Berlin, Bonn, Bothkamp in Schleswig, Breslau, Dantzic, Düsseldorf, Gotha, Göttingen, Hamburg, Kiel, Königsberg, Leipsic [Leipzig], Lübeck, Mannheim, Marburg, Munich, Potsdam, Schewerin, Spires, Strasburg, and Wilhelmshaven.

Book Trade.—This branch of industry, from the important position is has gradually acquired since the time of the Reformation, is to be regarded as at once a cause and a result of the mental culture of Germany. Leipsic [Leipzig] is the centre of the trade. The number of booksellers in Germany was not less than 5196 in 1878, among whom were 1546 publishers. The following table will show the recent progress of German literary production, and its proportion to that of other European states:—


Newspapers.—While in England a few important newspapers have an immense circulation, the newspapers of Germany are much more numerous, but individually command a far more limited sale. Leaving out of account insignificant local papers, Germany in 1878 possessed 600 newspapers published daily, or two to three times a week; of these only 90 were published in South Germany. Berlin alone produces 44 newspapers. Most readers receive their newspaper through the post-office or at their clubs, which may help to explain the smaller number of copies sold. Only 50 of the 600 daily newspapers print more than 10,000 copies, and only 20 more than 20,000.

Fine Arts.—There are many academies which have for their object the promotion of a taste for painting, sculpture, architecture, and music, and the improvement of the technique of art. The largest academy is now that of Berlin. The three schools of painting (malerschulen) are represented by the academies of Berlin, Munich, and Düsseldorf. Other academies for painting are to be found in Dresden, Carlsruhe, Weimar, and Königsberg. The chief musical academy is at Leipsic. Numerous of art and collections of pictures exist in the country, but there is no concentration of these as in London or Paris. Although the collections in Berlin have of late years been considerably enriched, they do not equally in their number of celebrated originals the galleries of Dresden, Munich, and Cassel. An archaeological institute is maintained by the imperial Government at Rome and at Athens, and recently Germany has done much for the advancement of archaeology by the part she has taken in the excavations at Olympia.


FOOTNOTES (page 471)

1 The teaching staff was classified as follows: ordinary professors 957, extraordinary professors 403, honorary professors 41, private teachers (privat-docenten) 438, language and exercise masters 39. The following table gives the number of the students in the different faculties for 1878—


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